There are no secrets in the AFC West. Not when you’re talking about some of the most historic rivalries in the history of football. Over the years coaches, players and front office personnel have freely moved between AFC West franchises, surely sharing vital information along the way.
In the past it was guys like return specialist Darrien Gordon have gone from the Chargers to the Broncos and finally the Raiders. More recently we’ve seen Norv Turner depart Oakland and head south to San Diego.
That is nothing new under the sun. However this offseason could see the Raiders help to fill out the rosters of their AFC West rivals. We’ve already had one such instance as Stanford Routt took his penalties to Kansas City. Don’t be surprised if more players take Routt’s lead.
A few years back there were rumors that the Chargers had approached the Raiders to see what it would take to get Michael Bush into powered blue. Naturally Al Davis passed on any offers for Bush but then ultimately failed to secure Bush’s services for the long haul. Now that same man is set to hit the open market. After his record setting destruction of the Dolts this season I’m guessing Coach Turner would love to welcome Bush to SoCal. The Chargers could see Mike Tolbert depart via free agency and though Ryan Mathews has shown promise he’s not shown nearly the game Bush has displayed.
Aside from speculation on Bush there is a 100% chance of Jason Campbell taking his services elsewhere. The second Carson Palmer became a Raider JC began updating his resume. As it stands both the Broncos and Chiefs could be in the market for a veteran QB. John Elway needs an insurance policy as he knows the clock is close to hitting midnight on Tebow Time. There a rumblings that the Chiefs are finally ready to pull the plug on the Matt Cassel project. Of course Campbell might be looking to go somewhere else for a better chance at starting. None the less staying in the AFC West is a real possibility.
One man the Raiders kept out of reach from their rivals was Tyvon Branch. By extending the franchise tag to their top safety Oakland ensured that teams looking for help in the last line of defense couldn’t plunder their booty. Both San Diego and Denver could have been in on the Branch sweepstakes. Instead they’ll have to looks elsewhere.
Aside from Routt, none of those aforementioned dominos have been tipped. What is being cooked up in Reggie McKenzie’s office could lead to even more AFC West defection.
We already know about the contract ultimatum issued to Kamerion Wimbley. If he’s sent to pasture then I could also see San Diego interested in his services as a pass rusher. Aaron Curry is another name we’ve see floating around the rumor mill. Unlike many of the men we’ve discussed Curry isn’t nearly the same caliber of player. Oakland gave him a second chance and he didn’t exactly turn the tide of his career.
There are also more marginal players the Raiders aren’t likely to retain. Men such as Trevor Scott and Chaz Schilens. Both have had moments of brilliance and both have had injury issues. Certainly other teams around the AFC West will be very familiar with their talents too.
While none of the players discussed are of the franchise variety all can contribute in meaningful ways under the right set of circumstances. Bush would certainly make San Diego’s run game much more deadly while Campbell could be the real Mile High Messiah Denver is looking for. But in the end that’s just how business is done in football. McKenzie needs cap space and you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. And not every time you’re making an omelet are you the one eating it. McKenzie could be prepping a feast for one of his rivals or he could be giving them rotten eggs. Only time will tell.
Topics: Aaron Curry, AFC West, Al Davis, Carson Palmer, Chaz Schilens, Darrien Gordon, Jason Campbell, John Elway, Kamerion Wimbley, Matt Cassel, Michael Bush, Mike Tolbert, Norv Turner, Reggie McKenzie, Ryan Mathews, Stanford Routt, Trevor Scott, Tyvon Branch